tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC December 1, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PST
and then just gave him a little bit of help finding his way. ♪ [ laughs ] [ applause ] i love you. i love you, too. high noon here in the east. 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." first five stories trending at this hour. new messages today in the fiscal follies. a powerball mystery grows. an international rocket threat. a sink hole of the century. and a new harvard school approved sex club. details on all those stories throughout the hour. but first -- a dramatic weather story developing on the west coast. rain-soaked residents are preparing for the third storm in a row to hit the northwest. right now flights at the san francisco airport are delayed about an hour and a half. the heavy rains are causing a
dramatic spike in car crashes. drivers say the slick streets cause them to suddenly lose control. >> i hydroplaned and i hit the curb. >> i was really lucky. i was driving really slow, too. couldn't stop. i turned that corner and fishtailing everywhere. it was way scary. >> nbc meteorologist dylan is here. it's only going to get worse. >> tomorrow morning is when we'll see the worst conditions with heavier rain and strong wind gusts. we've got this setup here where a huge upper-level low is sitting just to the west of washington state. and all these storms are streaming in right into northern california. and we are looking at moderate rain at this time across northern california into southwestern oregon and also up in the seattle and the coast of washington state. now tomorrow we are actually going to see even heavier rain start to move in. we have already had reports of about 8 to 10 inches of rainfall
already from the past few storms we've already seen. but we've also gotten reports of wind gusts up to 60 to more than 80-mile-per-hour. and we're going to see more of the same if not a little more intense as we go into sunday morning. additional rainfall totals on top of the 8 to 10 inches on the ground could be an additional 5 to 6, 7 inches of rainfall out of what we'll see tomorrow morning. we have the series of storms moving into the west coast. then it's a totally different story right in the middle of the country. we're also talking about record-break heat today. down into dallas and also into san antonio where temperatures should get into the upper 70s and lower 80s. that's about 20 degrees warmer than average for this first day of december. the only cool spot really is in the northeast where temperatures today will only be in the 40s and 50s. we should tap out closer to 60 in the northeast tomorrow. alex? >> which looks like a nice day coming our way. thank you very much, dylan. breaking news at miami international airport where crews are on the scene right now of a deadly bus crash.
this is a tour bus. look at that. it slammed into an overpass. it is wedged there right now. there are reports of two people having died, dozens are injured. local police say the driver took the wrong route with no intention of going to the airport. that bus was privately owned. police believe all the passengers were local residents. as we get more information we'll bring it to you on this story. also more breaking news to share, this time from missouri. police across kansas city are trying to figure out why a nfl player shot his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself. investigators are not identifying either victim at this point, but they say the 25-year-old man shot himself in front of two team officials outside arrowhead stadium. local nbc affiliate reports the player has died. police also suspect the man of shooting his girlfriend several miles away. there is no word on that person's condition. the team says they are cooperating with this investigation in this developing story. we'll bring you more news on that as we have it as well.
from there to washington, and new today president obama taking his message directly to the public amid the fierce fiscal cliff fight. after holding a campaign-like stop in pennsylvania friday, the president today is urging congress to extend middle class tax cuts in his weekly address. >> both parties say we should keep middle class taxes low. the senate's already passed a bill to keep income taxes from going up on middle class families. democrats in the house are ready to do the same thing. if we can just get a few house republicans on board, i'll sign this bill as soon as congress sends it my way. >> the gop is also out today with new criticism of the president's plan. here's republican senator orrin hatch of utah. >> what he proposed this week was a classic bait and switch on the american people. a tax increase double the size of what he campaigned on. billions of dollars in new stimulus spending. and an unlimited, unchecked authority to borrow from the
chinese. maybe i missed it, but i don't recall him asking for any of that during the presidential campaign. >> joining me now, white house reporter for the "washington post" david nakamara and congressional reporter for roll call, meredith shiner. good to see you. david i'll begin with you. with the president's proposal in part it includes 1.6 trillion in tax hikes over ten years. that is raising rates on the top 2%, those making over $250,000. the proposal also calls for 50 billion in immediate stimulus and 400 million in long term savings from entitlement programs. the gop says this is a wish list for the democrats, that it's a nonstarter. can you explain where we are right now in negotiations? >> lakers, even though we've been about three weeks into sort of serious negotiations now, still sort of at the beginning in terms of the offer. the white house sent treasury secretary geithner up to the hill to present this offer and got the reaction you might expect for a first offer. the white house went for
everything here. the revenue the president's asking for is twice what he appeared to agree with zwrjohn r ago. this is the white house saying this is our first offer. we'll take a hard line here and make you come to us. i think the white house is now looking for a response from the hill. if you don't like this, what's your offer. >> okay, so meredith based on what he's saying and speculating about this there may be two ways to look at it. you've got the president who just wants to use this as a starting point for negotiations, despite david saying we want the republicans to come to them. or the president feels he has an election mandate and he's operating from a position of strength. do you know which one it is? >> i actually don't think those things are mutually exclusive, lakers lak alex. he ran as he did in 2008 on raising those top rates on taxes on income over $250,000. so i think this first offer was his way of saying this is the position i'd like to start from. and then the republicans are
going to have to show that they're going to be able to meet him in a way that makes sense in order to get a deal before the end of the year. >> david, in your latest article you write "any political negotiation involves a good deal of bluster, particularly in washington. such discussions often involve a period of theatrical posturing, even as staffers continue to hammer out specifics behind closed doors." do you know what's going on behind closed doors right now? is it different than what we're hearing? >> well, the white house and both the hill will say we're still talking and our staffs are working on the specifics. but you saw the president go outside the beltway yesterday in one of these campaign-style events that he's done so well in the past several months winning the election. he sort of threw in some line saying if congress doesn't act your taxes are all going to go up. unless they do what i want it's going to be a scrooge christmas. there's lots of posturing like this. i have talked to democratic and republican operatives who say this is not unexpected. we're in a time -- why make a deal now. you is three more weeks. yes, time is running out.
in the end they're going to come to the table like they did last year with the payroll tax cut right at the last minute. but both sides want to sort of hold onto their bargaining power right now. you have both sides doing these kind of events. john boehner came out right after the president spoke in pennsylvania and said we're at a stalemate. that's sort of sending the alarm and also trying to hold your cards close. >> so meredith, based on also what david is saying regarding john boehner your latest article "cliff talks send parties back to old corners." do you think that will mean the same same old results? >> we've seen this movie before. we saw this a year and a half ago during the debt ceiling debate and even a little bit before then in the spring of 2011 when they were talking about potentially having government shut down. remember we're talking to you today about this because last fall the super committee that was supposed to find $1.2 trillion in savings failed to do that. now we're trying to replace those same automatic cuts. so i think there is a lack of
trust right now between the main negotiators the house republicans and the white house. i was just talking to senator dick durbin the other day and i asked him, is there a trust problem now between the president and the speaker. he thought that there was. so they're going to have to work that out and very quickly in order to move forward. >> what about the trust problem that might result from this if we just continue to kick the can down the road, meredith, from the trust with the president, the trust with congress. i mean, don't you get a sense that the american public wants something done this time? >> well, sure. but i think that both sides are quite intransigent right now and holding the things they hold most dear, entitlement programs for the democrats or ref new rates for the republicans. it's going to be the first slice before the new year to try to make sure these tax rates don't go up on all of these americans. then you're going to see some sort of setup to deal with some of the larger issues, whether it's tax reform, entitlement reform. you might see some sort of process set up so the relevant
committees can do this work. this idea of after two years of not being able to come to an agreement, lawmakers will be able to magically come up with something in a week to take care of all our problems that's not going to happen. it's a much more long term conversation than that. >> there are not a lot of specifics out on the entitlement cuts to the president's plan or the talk of capping mortgage deductions. that's tactical, right? no party really wants to own those concepts. >> they don't. i think the white house is trying to force republicans to own them. they're saying if you don't like what the president's doing, which as meredith said the president is out there campaigning to keep middle class tax rates low and force republican to agree with that, which they do. republicans want to hold out. i think the white house is saying if you guys want more spending cuts, lay them out very clearly for the american people and then we'll litigate that. the white house is saying come to us with that of and we'll take it from there. >> okay, david i'll take it from there. meredith good to see you both. thanks so much. moving overseas today where protesters came out today in
egypt to back their enbattled president. thousands lined the streets near cairo university in a show of support for president morsi. the islamic parliament approved a draft constitution that gave morsi vast power. we'll have a live report from cairo at 1:00 p.m. eastern. a strike you may never have heard about that's sending a ripple across this nation next. also what's wrong with this picture? even one republican says a lot. it is coming up in strategy talk. plus willie geits on office politics here on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] where do you turn for legal matters? at legalzoom, we've created a better place to handle your legal needs. maybe you have questions about incorporating a business you'd like to start. or questions about protecting your family
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headlines making news on the west coast. the "san francisco chronicle" has a story on the deficit impasse and how it would be felt in california. the state would lose billions in funding and more than 200,000 jobs as part of the automatic cuts from the fiscal cliff. "the press telegram" in long beach, california has an article entitled "small in number, large in clout" about a strike that has slowed the nation's busiest cargo complex at the ports. they've been offered a salary boost to 195,000 with 11 weeks paid vacation. a ten-day walkout in 200002 caused $15 billion in losses. the "lewiston tribune "in idaho, wanted experienced pot farmer. a washington state man seeking experts to develop a marijuana industry.
possession of the drug will be legal in the state thursday. now to the mystery surrounding the second winner of that massive powerball jackpot. one couple has come forward with their golden ticket. the other winner still unknown. there is, however, surveillance video showing a man who appears to be celebrating after checking the numbers on his ticket but he hasn't come forward yet. nbc's tom costello is in maryland with his story. >> alex, good day to you. everybody in this gas station here in upper marlboro, maryland says they really believe that this guy wasn't putting on an act who showed up here on thursday. that it looked like the ticket that he came forward with was legit. meanwhile, the arizona lottery officials say that nobody has yet come forward to claim the jackpot. so the question is, have we found the mystery man? if you found out you'd won half the powerball jackpot, would you go back to work the next day? >> did you win the lottery? >> reporter: it sure looks like the man who celebrated in a maryland gas station was indeed back on the job at the virginia
dot friday. his highway safety uniform looks the same. the car he drove away in looks the same. so washington nbc pat collins asked him. >> is that the lottery winner there? >> it is! >> i found him! but the driver quickly sped away. that's when pat noticed a coworker who he thought he recognized from the gas station video. >> were you with him when he -- you were there. i saw you. >> i promised the gentleman that what we would do would wait for him to come forth and speak with you all publicly. >> reporter: it was lunch time on thursday when this man walked into this maryland ex on station, pulled out what looked like an arizona ticket, and asked employees what the powerball numbers were. they told him and he suddenly couldn't contain himself. that's cameron afghan behind the counter. >> he's telling people over there, i hit the powerball. check my numbers. that's what he said when he was
here. i have the powerball. check my numbers. >> reporter: also on the video is customer paul gogg who saw the arizona ticket and says it looked real. >> it did to me. i'm thinking -- nobody's thinking about that at the time. i was just excited for him. i couldn't believe -- i'll never see that again, you know? >> reporter: but how did a guy with a ticket bought in arizona end up across the country in maryland? was the gas station celebration just a put on? >> was this a joke? >> i don't see it being a hoax at all. >> you think he really has a ticket? >> again on behalf of his privacy i would have to wait for him to come forth and speak to you about it. >> reporter: we all have to wait. how would somebody who bought a ticket in arizona end up all the way over here in maryland? apparently people in the gas station say this gentleman said he had been in arizona recently and he either is in the military or in the reserves. and meanwhile, arizona says if you're going to claim a lottery ticket you've got to do it in person. alex, back to you.
>> all right, thanks for that. today we've been asking all of you what would you do with your powerball winnings? here are some of your tweets. some kind of creative. b 2 live u 2 says "i'd quit my lousy job and open a bookstore." jessica tweets "with the lotto we would buy a farm to raise cats and pet the fur off them my husband's words." judith clearry would donate to whistle blower protection act and wounded warriors. robert dash lives up to his name. he'd buy a lamborghini or a ferrari and drive to california from philly to see how many tickets he could get. send your tweets to me @alexwit. apparent progress in the so-called fiscal cliff talks. it appears both sides may be digging in their heels. nbc's mike viqueira joins me from the white house with the very latest. if there's anything new to report. seems like everyone is in their own separate corners, mike. >> reporter: it's no longer
november. this is december 1st. it's a new month, the last month before we go over the fiscal cliff. now both sides after a lot of bipartisan talk of compromise in that post-election period, alex, it turns out what we have now a typical washington standoff. >> the president of the united states. >> reporter: visiting a toy factory outside philadelphia, the president urged congress to act and avoid the fiscal cliff. if not, he says, taxes go up for everyone, including the middle class. >> it's sort of like the lump of coal you get for christmas. that's a scrooge christmas. >> reporter: with the election over the president has begun a new kind of campaign, for votes in congress. a series of white house meetings with business leaders, a grassroots effort on twitter, and friday's trip to an area rich in swing congressional districts. asking the public to tell republicans, allow rates to rise on the upper 2% of earners while extending lower rates for everyone else. >> i don't think it's acceptable
to you for just a handful of republicans in congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they don't want tax rates on upper income folks to go up. all right? that doesn't make sense. >> reporter: mr. obama's opening bid includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue, about half coming from higher rates for the wealthy. 600 billion in cuts to domestic programs like medicare. and 50 billion in new infrastructure spending. when treasury secretary tim geithner went to the capitol and laid out the plan for a senate republican leading mitch mcconnell, aides on both sides said mcconnell burst out in laughter. with talks now entering the final month, house republicans offer add more somber assessment. >> we're not interested in playing rope a dope. >> it was not a serious proposal. and so right now we're almost nowhere. >> reporter: so alex the clock is ticking. the president's public campaign
trying to pressure john boehner, eric cantor and their charges in their house republican conference continues. he meets with governors this week here at the white house to talk about this time and more meetings with ceos, this is in the form of the business round table, a business lobbying group. >> being almost nowhere right now with just a month to go. yikes. we'll be talking about it again, mike. thank you. now number three of our first five web stories in a move u.s. officials are calling provocative, north korea is planning to launch a long-range rocket this month. state department officials say the launch will use ballistic missile technology and is a threat to peace in the region. attempted launches by north korea in the past have barely gotten off the ground including a failed launch in april. ford c-max hybrid. when you're carrying a lot of weight, c-max has a nice little trait, you see, c-max helps you load your freight, with its foot-activated lift gate. but that's not all you'll see, cause c-max also beats prius v,
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but apple's share of the overall tablet market is slipping. the giant's share of the market represents a 14% drop since the last quarter of business. mexico's new president has just been sworn into office. that is president enrique pena nieto. we're keeping an close eye on this. there was a delay in the swearing in ceremony. there have been a lot of protesters. but the police were able to disperse that crowd. that has just happened. the president is walking around there. sort of a sash there around him. again mexican president pena nieto has taken office. let's get though now to today's list of number ones. the rush hour new york city is probably worse these days but it's kind of good news. the new york area is the leader in new jobs. about 128,000 more people were working in the big apple
compared to a year earlier. at the same time houston gained about 96,000 jobs. los angeles about 78,000. given its record energy production, north carolina has been named as the best-run stat. wyoming slips to second in this year's 24 sln 7 wall street.com rankings. nebraska is third. california wins the dubious distinction of the worst-run state just ahead of rhode island and illinois. well, cold play dreams of paradise. but americans who seek it in hawaii have a steep price to pay. the rainbow state tops a new cold well banker list of the most expensive states for home buyers. the average listing for a four bedroom two bath home going for nearly $750,000. massachusetts is about $300,000 less but still the second most expensive state. california is the third
priceyest with a $430,000 price tag on average. the most affordable listings, nebraska where the average listing is about $145,000. iowa and georgia ranked second and third least expensive. those are your number ones here on "weekends with alex witt." tht a holiday deal is to camp out. you know we've been open all night. is this a trick to get my spot? [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. save on ground shipping at fedex office.
share "you owe me..." share "just right." the share everything plan. sharable data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. get a droid razr m by motorola for $49.99. welcome back, everyone to "weekends with alex witt." at 31 past the hour, president obama is taking his case for a fiscal cliff solution to the voters. in his new weekly address today he's asking supporters to lobby their congressmen. >> it's unacceptable for some republicans in congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest americans. and if you agree with me, then i could sure use your help. let your congressman know what $2,000 means to you.
give them a call. write them an e-mail. or tweet them using the #my2k. joining me now is karen finney, a nbc political analyst and tony frato former white house press secretary under president george w. bush. hello to the two of you. i've got to ask you. is that a world aids day t-shirt you got going on? >> this is my favorite product red t-shirts. red's raised over $200 million for aids relief. and remember it's world aids day today. get out there and support everyone who's doing everything to end aids. >> i talked to michael elliott as well the ceo of one about the same thing. good on you. let's get to this, karen. the video follows what amounted to a campaign event yesterday for the fiscal cliff. the election's over. the president and democrats won. is this effort sort of a redundancy that maybe counterproductive?
>> no. look, i think its something that a lot of us wanted to see the president do actually in the first term. you may remember there was some talk about this kind of outside end strategy. he did it when he introduced the jobs act. he did it on the payroll tax cut the last time. that is engage the american people in the process. let them know what's going on here in washington and let their voices be heard so that we're not just having meetings in back rooms kind of cutting deals, which some of that's going to happen. let's not kid ourselves. but that also when people go in those rooms to cut those deals they do feel the pressure of what the american people want to see happen. >> yeah. let's hope they are making those deals. i tell you on the surface of it right now, no, it's not happening. look at the republicans, tony. they scoffed at the white house proposal. mitch mcconnell said that he laughed out loud. john boehner was saying hey it's not a serious offer. should they really be surprised that the newly re-elected president is going to open with a tough bid? >> no, i don't think so. but look, i have to tell you,
alex, when i saw the bid, when details of it leaked out i kind of laughed out loud, too. i imagine the team back in the white house when they were putting together this bid they were kind of laughing when they put it together wonder whagt republican reaction was going to be. it really isn't something that should resemble a final plan. i think they knew that because we're in that period where you're going to see the polar ends of what people are going to offer here. i really still believe we're looking at a situation where we're going to have to go into the new year before we actually do real negotiation and get to an agreement. >> which means that we may have to go over the fiscal cliff. unless we do one of those stopgaps. is that what you think is going to happen, tony? a stopgap for a month or two and final israel it later? >> it's possible it could be a stopgap. but the problem is on some of these positions, alex, especially on tax policy it is hard to give in until we're in a position where it's already de facto law. negotiating over what provisionally or aspirationally might happen is really hard for
negotiators. it's why we see negotiations in business break down and go into strikes and lockouts all the time. my favorite nhl is in that situation right now. stooimts sometimes you have to get there. >> i actually think that the president and the white house really don't want to see that happen. not just because of the political posturing but because there are real consequences for americans. the white house started talking about that at the beginning of the week. i mean, a lot of americans, the way they can afford christmas is they take out a loan to buy christmas presents against what they think they're going to get back from their taxes. they get their tax return, and that's what that money back, that's what they repay their loan. if that's how you're living your life and you're watching what's going on in washington, you have a lot of anxiety. and also for businesses, i mean for business cycles, particularly given so let's say we go over the cliff. given the rancor in washington and the tone of the conversation, what's to say or to create any kind of assurances that there will ultimately be a deal in a relatively reasonable period of time? i think there's a real concern
about that. the only other thing i would say here is, i understand that republicans think this is all very funny and what have you. but a lot of what was in there is very consistent with what the president campaigned on, very consistent with what is in the president's 2013 budget. i would just remind you, these are the same republicans who were convinced as we now know from neil newhouse's polling data the week before the election they thought mitt romney was going to win six states by five and six points he'd lost. you guys need to recalibrate a little bit there, tony. >> it's not about polling. it's about what the effect will be on the economy. just to be clear -- >> it's about getting real about where we are and what's going on here. not deluding yourself about that. >> i agree. but we shouldn't get deluded about things like the impact it's going to have on december spending, too, karen. remember we're talking about 2013 taxes, not 2012 taxes. but if americans are taking out loans based on what their tax return is going to be in april maybe we should be talking about financial literacy and not about
how budgeting works. >> we can but i'm just trying to tell you realistically that's how people are living their lives in the united states of america in the 21st century. so we need to be real about how people are living their lives. >> you know what, one thing i do want to talk about, i'll begin with you tony on this. i'm sure you saw that photo making the rounds this week of house committee chairmen? what is that all about. they're all white males. speaker boehner now said he was indeed appointing a female chair congresswoman, candice miller. this committee is in charge of things like the house cafeteria, expense accounts, benefits packages. sounds like a token appointment to a somewhat low-level position. >> look. speaking as a white male republican, wasn't really happy to see that. i want to see more women and more representative of the country in our leadership and on the hill.
look, this is a problem for my party. we need to think about how inclusive we are and making sure that we have opportunities. we have wonderful -- the women and minority representatives of the republican party in congress are really exceptional people. we need to make sure that they're seen and heard from and part of our leadership. >> do you know what's interesting, tony? this was a problem before the election, this is a problem during the election. why didn't they think about this as they were appointing committee chairs now? >> look, i know john boehner. he's one of the fairest people around. this isn't the way he thinks. he was just thinking about talented people to put in those jobs. that's why i think as a party we really need to think about it. we went through. this i remember being on the hill in the 90s. we had some exceptional members of congress at that time. people like susan molinari, my friend and others, who are real exceptional and did great work. but it can't be a one-off kind of thing for the party. it's got to be engrained. >> karen, got to be fair here. hang on.
because of the 16 standing senate committees, four of the current chairs are women, one is a minority man. that is better certainly but not great. is this really just a republican issue? >> well, here's what i think is an issue here. i think it's an issue broadly. and i think i've always said i think more women at the table better decisions get made. we need more women in the senate and the house of representatives. we need more women in leadership positions. i think the difference, though, is is there an awareness before you let something get released with a picture of all white men after you've just literally lost dramatically among women in particular that some -- was there anybody sitting at the table who saw that and said wait a second, this is going to be a problem. what bothers me about it was so last time around somebody looked at that and said hey we've got to figure out a way to include some of these new tea party members, right? they're so important to our party now. so the point is you've got to make sure there are people at the table who will kind of raise their hand and say wait a second, guys. we can't do this. this isn't going to send the right message. i think you're more likely to
have people like that at the table in those democratic circles. but again i'd like to see more women and minorities period. both parties could do dramatically better. >> tony, did the republicans raise awareness there to the tea party members but not otherwise? not to women? >> maybe. look, i don't want us to be in a position where we actually have to think about it. i want there to be so many women and minorities that are part of the republican party and part of leadership that we don't have to say oh, make sure that we think about women. it should just be part of the fabric of the party and the leadership. i know there are a lot in the republican party who feel that way. i want to see a whole lot more women in the room making a lot of decisions on policy and the direction of the party. >> okay. tony fratto, karen finny, always a pleasure to talk to you guys. we invite you to watch "meet the press" tomorrow david gregory will discuss the fiscal cliff with treasury secretary
tim geithner. check your local listings. in today's office politics, my conversation with "the today show" and msnbc's willie geist. we talk about his roots in sports reporting and why he's already dropping the doors on his alma mater vanderbilt. i asked him about his official gig as a co-host on "today." >> it's cool. i mean, i grew up dreemg of playing for the new york yankees. that hasn't quite worked out yet. yet. i'm still a free agent. i go to spring training every year. security ushers me out. i'm still going to make the team. >> don't show up to "today" he got drafted. >> the "today" show is like playing for the new york yankees. you've got a responsible to a 60-year legacy of greatness. and that's very humbling. and at the same time we're at a moment where we're pushing the show forward.
it's time for some change, some self-reflection and all that is happening over there. when i go there, there's no head hanging of oh, my gosh we've slipped back. it's a land of opportunity. it's like okay, what do we need to do now. so to come in at that moment when everyone is thinking that way is really cool. >> that's perfect for you. i've got to think, though, when you talk about it being an iconic brand, so is your father, albeit for another network with cbs. but your father must be so proud of you. >> i guess so. i hope he is. he's the person i've looked up to obviously as a dad but also professionally just in the way he's carried himself and conducted himself. and always been professional and respectful of other people and done exactly what he wants to do with his life and career. he's been lucky to be able to do that. he's been at it at cbs now for 25 years. and still going strong. still doing it. so i hope he's proud of me. i'm proud of him. i actually started my career in sports.
my first job out of college was at cnn "sports illustrated" which was a 24-hour sports network that i know you're familiar with. i really -- it was around for awhile. >> a little while. when you left that was it. >> right. it was a great place to learn the business. it was a bunch of young people in their 20s covering sports. that was i guess my first tv love was in sports. the nice thing was the audience went along for it. they didn't say wait a minute this is a news show. what are you doing a couple of minutes of sports on. they enjoyed first us doing it on morning joe hearing us bat around different sports stories. so i think there's a place for it in news definitely. >> let me get with the vanderbilt thing. louisville slugger. vanderbilt. go dores. >> i think you've got onto my strategy here. i mention vanderbilt university on television in lieu of donations to the school. i figure like every mention got to be 5 grand. helps the school a little bit. >> have they worked out that
strategy? >> they don't seem to understand how that works. that's the way i'm looking at it. i'd like to say vanderbilt university should be going to the gator bowl in jacksonville, florida. if the gator bowl were smart they would choose the vanderbilt university. what a great story this year. 8-4, 5-3, a winning record in the s.e.c. mississippi state? all respect, you could have them any year. why not send the nerds from vanderbilt on a little new year's day road trip to actionville? come on, gator bowl. >> if we include this i think that's like 10 grand worth, don't you think? >> that was big. >> 20? >> 25er. they shouldn't call me for like five years after that. tomorrow at this time my frugal friend willie tells me what he found most interesting during his time covering the london summer olympics. we're going to explain all this. >> i'm not used to my lights. my dark office. >> i'm going to have to use this for a tease, i think. what are you doing? >> willie was kind of hot during
the interview. it's not just because he's in people magazine's sexiestmen alive issue. we'll be explaining that for sure. now coming up to number five on our first five web stories, a new club at harvard, a sex club. the school's committee on student life approved it. the club brings together students with an interest in sex and gives them a place to discuss their ideas. a harvard spokesperson says just because the club was approved doesn't mean the college endorses its activities. we're just saying. or that printing in color had to cost a fortune. nobody said an all-in-one had to be bulky. or that you had to print from your desk. at least, nobody said it to us. introducing the business smart inkjet all-in-one series from brother. easy to use. it's the ultimate combination
overseas now, new and scattered pieces in a complex middle east puzzle. secretary of state hillary clinton criticizing israel's plans to settle parts of east jerusalem in the west bank. the move to build more than 3,000 homes would essentially cut the west bank in half. clinton reiterated u.s. support
for israel but condemned the move. >> let me reiterate that this administration, like previous administrations, has been very clear with israel, that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace. >> the israeli announcement come just hours after the u.n. voted overwhelmingly to grant palestine a non member observer status. nbc correspondent martin fletcher is live for us in tel aviv. martin what is the respect of this settlement announcement? do you think israel will really move forward with these plans? >> reporter: well, that's a good question, alex. they've announced these kinds of plans before, mostly to score political points publicly in this case, then really delayed things in the planning process and things haven't actually happened. i think this time there's a pretty clear need according to the israelis from what they feel to respond in some way to the palestinian's political success in the united nations general assembly. this is what they did. they announced they would
building 3,000 new homes on land that the palestinians claim is theirs, and land that would be the subject of negotiations if there were any negotiations. so that's why hillary clinton and the united states -- and by the way many israelis, certainly all the palestinians are very upset. in the same way that the israelis say the palestinians prejudged everything by going to the united nations and getting them effectively declared as a state. in the same way they say the israeli government is now doing the same thing, taking the land and effectively removing it from the peace negotiations with the palestinians. it's a very sensitive political move, very controversial. the one that israelis say they will go ahead with and build these homes. of course it will take several years. >> martin, the overwhelming vote in the united nations to change the wording, if you will, of the palestine as being an entity observer rather to an observer state, i mean with all of the dialogue and the hopes about building two states living side
by side, how much does that wording make a difference? and what's the reaction been there? >> well you know, as you suggest the wording is so slight, the difference is so slight certainly it's mostly symbolic. there's no doubt that until the palestinians get their own state, any phrasing in the united nations is symbolic. it does give a real practical relationship between the palestinians and the united nations. the palestinians gain something. they can gain access to u.n. committees, they can use those committees to put pressure on israel, to continue that process of delegitimizing israel. it's important. but on the ground it doesn't really change anything at all. when the vote was held, almost all the palestinians i spoke to said the same thing. this doesn't change anything on the ground. the israelis say the only thing that will change is face-to-face negotiations between the palestinians and israel. the israelis say the path to peace does not go 5,000 miles
away through the united nations in new york. it's seven miles between jerusalem and ramallah. let's meet here and talk. >> when you put that in perspective. seven miles. wow. martin fletcher this in tel aviv. thank you so much. now a whopper of a sink hole for number four of our first five web stories. the crater in dover, ohio is reportedly as large as four football field. the department of transportation thinks dredging near a pond may have eroded enough land to lead to this collapse. several nearby homes are threatened by the unstable ground and a damaged interstate is now shut down indefinitely. s. i put'em in my shoes, i put'em in my car, i put'em in my vases. girl, i been put'n'em for as long as i can remember. [ male announcer ] how do you get your bounce? [ woman ] sheets, i put'em! [ male announcer ] how do you get your bounce? is bigger than we think ... sometimelike the flu.fer from with aches, fever and chills- the flu's a really big deal. so why treat it like it's a little cold?
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on monday morning the supreme court could announce if it will take on the question of same-sex marriage. less than a month ago, washington, maine, maryland all voted in favor of gay marriage bringing the state total to nine. joining me now is partner and head of the supreme court practice, she has tried over 30 cases before the high court
herself. patricia, so the supreme court declined to make any announcement on the same-sex marriages issue yesterday. does that tell you anything? >> they had a very long conference that. still tells me it is incredibly likely they are going to wade into the same sex issue this term. they're just sorting out how deep they want to wade in they have a recusal issue with justin kagen in one case. more importantly they actually have ten petitions up there to sort out, eight of them involve the defense of marriage act, the federal law, one involves proposition 8 out of california that we heard so much about. there's a case involving an arizona law. they're really sorting out how deep they want to get into this issue. >> so with your expectations do you expect the court to go big on the question of same-sex marriage overall or just go with maybe a smaller issue like already married gay couples receiving federal benefits? >> i think it's most likely we're going to address the second issue you raised, which is the constitutionality of the defense of marriage act. not such a little issue, it's the constitutionality of federal law. that statute's been held
unconstitutional by two courts of appeals now. it's a job description number one for the supreme court to address the constitutionality of federal laws when they're invalidated. they really have to take that one. there's some chance they'll take the proposition 8 case out of california. but that sort of turned into less a right to same-sex marriage case and more of a can you take it away once you've given it. they may be less interested in that. i think they're least likely to be interested in the arizona case. >> does your experience give you any insights into how they view same-sex marriage overall as a court body? >> it probably won't surprise you to hear they have different vantage points on the issue. i think they're likely to have sort of three different takes on the issue. there'll be some of them who will see this as very much a fundamental issue about the role of courts and guaranteeing equal protection and fair treatment. there'll be some of them looking at it as normally we let states define what marriage is. that's how we've done it throughout the history of our country. what is congress doing.
>> if that's the case, richapat, with nine states okaying gay marriage does that play into it at all? >> yes. but some will say look the political process is dealing with this. why should we as a court step in others will say you have to step in this is equal protection, fair treatment. it's our job to step in but i think that's one of the reasons they're deliberating. they want to make sure that while they do their job, step into the issue as needed, they don't become an issue themselves and a distraction from the amazing sort of political process this issue has taken on in the last decade. >> patricia, always a pleasure. we'll see you again. >> thank you. having their cupcake and eating it too. big new twists in the hostess going out of business story. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards
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out there. new twist in the fiscal cliff in the national's capitol. nbc's mike viqueira is live for us. mike there's a new phrase we're hearing. a thelma and louise fiscal cliff strategy? i can only imagine. >> reporter: this is another one of the theories you hear. nobody wants it believe, alex, we are actually on the verge of going over this fiscal cliff after everything we've seen in the last several years, all the disagreement, all the partisanship, brinksmanship people can't believe after the election we had these two sides can't come together and agree to avert what everybody thinks will be economic catastrophe. we will go over the fiscal cliff come january 1st, one theory, will make it easier for john boehner and republicans for that matter to vote for higher taxes on the healthy. in other words they would be voting to cut taxes for 98% of americans while allowing them to stay where they are. because remember, after january
1st those bush tax cuts expire. they rise for everybody. again, there are conspiracy theories everywhere. you saw the hardball offer put forward by the white house late in the week on thursday when tim geithner went up to congress and presented it to republicans. mitch mcconnell laughed out loud. $1.6 trillion in new revenues. only $600 billion in cutting spending. this is not what.republicans had in mind. but john boehner can rail against it which will make it easier for john boehner to sell to his conference. i think it's far fetched. i don't think either of these men, president obama or john boehner, want to see this country go off the fiscal cliff. there's obviously too much at stake not only politically but for the lives and welfare of americans. i think that's foremost in their mind, even given all the politics. so thelma and louise, whatever conspiracy theories we see right now, they might be justified because we're at a standoff at least publicly right now as we
head into december, alex. >> mike viqueira at the white house, thanks for that. joining me for more front page politics, perry bacon junior and political contributor for the "washington post." perry, the president's plan is pretty ambitious. what is the strategy here? >> the strategy is to move this debate to the left. i mean, a lot of times you saw in these first four years obama would kind of start in the center on a plan and then the republicans could move to the right a little bit. in this plan, obama knows republicans don't support stimulus money. they don't support $1.6 trillion in taxes. he's saying i won the election. we're going to start with a plan pretty far to the left and move slightly from there. he's playing hardball and saying they have to come to me. they have to accept tax increases. they have to spell out the spending cuts they want. he's trying to play a very assertive role in this discussion. >> all right. let's go here with you, dane that listen to speaker john
boehner talking about this on friday about the president's plan. >> they want to have this extra spending that's actually greater than the amount they're willing to cut. i mean, it was not a serious proposal. and so right now we're almost nowhere. >> have you found almost nowhere on a map? do you know where we are? >> yes, it's in washington, d.c. right there in the center, the capitol, under the rotunda. it wasn't a serious proposal of course because it's not really a proposal. there's more posing and posturing going on in washington now than your typical yoga class. and the idea is everybody wants to pull the debate as perry was saying in their direction. but this is pretty perilous. we only have a few weeks here. there's not a whole lot of room for error. erskine bowles head of the debt commission sees it less than 1 in 3 chance of them actually working this out. maybe politically they need to go over the cliff. but to save their political hides they're going to throw the
country back into recession? it's insane. >> perry, your latest piece you write about this with president obama "his opening bid to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff was effectively a poison pill. it was a liberal's dream and a nonstarter for congressional republicans. and it suggested the president may be employing a different, more assertive negotiating style in his second term." what kind of negotiating style are you referring to? >> like dana is saying, we're in the posturing stage of this right now. the president, for his proposal was a posture that says, i won. i won. i won. here's where i want to take things. and it started from a very left, liberal direction, stimulus money included. he knows republicans oppose that kind of spending. we assumed the final deal will include about $1 trillion in tax increases of some kind. so the president said i'm going to start with the idea of 1.6 trillion because that's where he's like trying to make the opening deal from the left. then the compromise will be
around the 1 trillion, 1.2 trillion trillion 800 billion zone. in 2011 he and john boehner had a deficit deal on the table that a lot of democrats didn't like. right now he's gaining democratic support even more than at the campaign. this proposal democrats alike, there was a meeting on the hill about the proposal. democrats were delighted. you saw john boehner complaining about it. that's what the president wants because we're in the posturing stage in two weeks we'll be closer to actual where the real deal is stage. >> in your latest piece, dana, you write about how the gop if you have members that aren't following the party line they're getting purged. "when a lawmaker who has been part of house gop leadership floated a perfectly sensible notion this week the republicans should accept president obama's offer to extend tax cuts for the 98% of americans who earn less tha $250,000 a year, he was treated as if he'd been caught reading
marx in the republican cloak room." >> this guy has a 92% conservative rating. they're now treating him like he's some sort of liberal just because he said don't hold 98% of americans hostage as some sort of negotiating tactic to save tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%. a fairly sensible thing. he's saying we can go back and negotiate this as part of the larger package. he was basically excommunicated last week. we've seen the same thing in the senate. the few who are speaking out are just getting cut off at the knees. now at some point they all know are going to have to do the revenue thing. it's hard to see how they get momentum for this. >> interesting to see bob corcoran on "meet the press" tomorrow. perry, president obama took his message to pennsylvania on friday. he was appealing to the public. what does campaign strategy, if you will, what does that buy him? is this a campaign redundancy out there? >> no. what he's trying to say is, he's
trying to show he has public support for his ideas. he's going to go out and campaign on them. a different approach, in 2011 they had all these behind the scenes meetings. they didn't really work at the end of the day. he and john boehner agreed to something. then the democrats didn't like it and the republicans really didn't like it. this time he's basically saying over and over again, i have a mandate from the election. i'm going to go out to the public and the polls show the majority of americans support tax increases. he's pressuring the republicans from the outside. he's trying to get people to go on twitter and call their congressmen and really urge them, push them that way. he's trying to win the deal from the outside of washington and then force people inside washington to react to him as opposed to just doing all these negotiations inside of washington that haven't worked these last three years. >> dana, perry talks about how a couple of weeks from now we'll have a better idea of the posturing where everyone really stands. are you and i going to be sitting here on christmas eve talking about this? will it go all the way like congress loves to do right up to the wire? >> that means obama and his
press corps can't go to hawaii. that will be a real tragedy. the fiscal beach is what are going to be on there in hawaii. it looks like it's going to ruin everybody's vacation. but better to ruin a christmas and new year's vacation than to actually wreck the american economy. >> point well taken. good to see you. thanks, guys. in just a few minutes an inside look at the fiscal cliff fight on capitol hill. i'll speak with a member of the senate committees on finance and the budget. maryland democrat benjamin harden. nbc news confirms nfl linebacker joe von belcher is suspected of committing a murder suicide. police say the 25-year-old member of the kansas city chiefs killed his girlfriend at her home before then driving to arrowhead stadium. and that is where team officials tried talking to belcher. police describe what happened next as the officers closed in. >> when the officers arrived, when they were pulling up they actually observed a blackmail who had a gun to his head. he was talking to a couple of coaches out in the parking lot,
as officers pulled up and began to park that's when they heard the gunshot. it appears the individual took his own life. >> our nbc affiliate says belcher and his girlfriend had a 3-month-old old child now in family custody. what a tragedy there. we also have breaking news from florida. that is where police are interviewing the bus driver who caused a deadly crash at miami international airport. investigators say the driver slammed into a concrete overpass after missing warning signs. two people died. everyone else on board was injured. officials say the more than 30 passengers were mostly senior citizens from the local area. the bus was privately owned. no word on where that bus was heading. it is one of the most treasured deductions for taxpayers, but will the home mortgage deduction survive the fight for fiscal fitness? we'll ask a key lawmaker in just a moment. also a lawsuit to end the ban on women in combat. we'll talk to one of the four women soldiers suing uncle sam. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news
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we're no closer to a deal on the fiscal cliff with the deadline at the end of the month republicans are calling the white house's new proposal unrealistic, while president obama takes it on the road to rally support. joining me now isdom senator ben card enmember of the budget and finance committees. senator thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> let's talk take a look at probe's proposal. a $50 billion stimulus package. some have characterized this as a democrats' wish list.
can you put into perspective how realistic this is? >> i think it is a realistic next step. remember we've already done close to $1 trillion in deficit reduction during the debt ceiling agreement. so we've gotten $1 trillion of discretionary domestic spending savings. it's time now to move on the revenues. quite frankly, i think the easiest next step, i would hope this could happen as early as this week, is to pass the continuation of the lower tax rates for those under $250,000 of taxable income. get that done. everyone agrees on it. it helps the holiday season. it gives confidence. we know we have to get beyond that. we know we also have to get to the spending areas. we have to get to the automatic across the board cuts. but at least let's make progress where we're all together on extending the relief to those under $250,000. >> how flexible are the democrats on that income level for the tax increases? i'm reminded of tim kaine who ran successfully for senate from the battle ground state of
virginia who'll be joining your ranks there. he talked about sliding that scale, going up to maybe $500,000, up to $1 million. are democrats flexible that way? >> we are certainly willing to listen. but our principle objective is to protect the middle income families. it's difficult to see how you can get enough revenue unless you increase the -- allow the rates to go back for those over $250,000. but we're willing to listen to other proposals. but what we're not willing to do is to put an additional burden on middle income families. >> the details, sir, of the $400 billion entitlement savings, they are pretty vague. do you think that may be because the white house doesn't want their fingerprints on third rails like medicare or the mortgage interest deduction? >> i think on the spending side a lot of us understand the best way to get savings is to bring down the the cost of health care. if we can implement the types of changes in our health care system that brings down costs we not only help medicare and
medicaid, we also help our economy and employers and everyone else who have health care expenses. so we need to get that done. there's a certain amount that can get done in the next couple of weeks, but we need to get our committees instructed to bring in the type of savings that we need on the spending side. >> what about the mortgage deduction, sir? might be on the table at some point? what's the sales pitch to constituents to rely on it. >> many of us are urging reget the revenue through the rates, we understand we need to deal with deductions and credits and exemption. but that needs to be done in the context of tax reform. as we look at reforming our tax code. we desperately need to do that. we understand that. but to try to do that in the next couple of weeks i think is just unrealistic. >> how about then would you be willing to go over the fiscal cliff to put pressure on republicans to then accept the democrats' proposal? >> no. we don't want to go over the fiscal cliff. that's crazy for our country. let's get these as i said extend
the tax cuts for those under $250,000. let's agree on a down payment. let's get not only the predictability on the tax code for 98% of americans but also get the automatic across the board cuts off the table for next year. then allow our committees to go to work to bring in the additional savings that we need. i think we can get that blueprint done in the next couple of weeks. >> do you believe that, sir? because have you talked to your republican colleagues in the senate? i mean, do they have a point at which they believe is their we can't pass we cannot cross this line? do you think you're able to meet at least in the senate? >> i think so. i really do believe that the majority of the members of the senate want to get this done, want to get it done now. they want to get predictability to the 98% of taxpayers on their tax rates come january 1st. they want to get these across the board sequestration cuts off the table. they want to make a down payment on the debt. they believe we can get it done. there's enough common ground to
get it done. but the next major step is let's give the predictability on the tax side on rates as of january 1nd for the 98% of americans. if we can do that that gives us some additional revenue, staebs good faith. we can move forward with a blueprint yet this year, avoid the cliff and avoid the automatic cuts. >> you keep talking about january 1. does that mean, sir, you're going to be there in washington in that building behind you come december 31st? i mean, how long do you think it's going to take to get it done? >> the sooner we get it done the better it is for the american economy and for american families. i would hope we could make significant progress this week and next week. we should get it done before christmas. >> let's hope so. democratic senator ben cardin, thank you for your time. appreciate it. amid the increasing tension, in the middle east, stevie wonder has decided to cancel a performance of an israeli benefit concert. wonder says he women not perform at next week's israeli defenses event to avoid the apeerngs of partialality. the legendary singer is an
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oh dear... geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. there you go. the holiday season has begun. that was a pretty packed times square. let's go now to our three big money headlines. sandy's impact. buyers are back. and a big bake sale. joining me now forbes staff writer morgan brennan. let's get to hurricane sandy which took a toll of on consumer spending. "consumer reports" says spending fell in october after rising in september. the gdp was higher than estimated. i never can quite figure out how they can both be true and whether or not this continues in coming months. >> that's a great question. i think we need to start with the revised number for the third quarter. the reason we saw gdp growth in
the third quarter was because businesses were restocking their inventory. an government spending increased about 9.5%. not sustainable indicators of economic growth in the long term. consumer spending makes up about 70% of economic growth. the fact we saw that come down in october and actually the fact in november the early numbers despite a robust holiday shopping weekend are still not looking so good is why we're seeing economists predict a weak fourth quarter economic number. and we're actually seeing numbers as low as 1% which would be really terrible. >> not so good there. what about the pending home sales now at the highest level since march of '07? contracts to buy existing homes surged over 5% last month. there seems to be momentum. you agree? >> i actually do agree. i think this is one more rosy report we've seen in housing the last couple of months. housing's sort of been considered one of the bright spots of the economy recently. and pending home sales are up
about 13% versus this time last year. and i think we will see that momentum start to go into 2013. in the short term the final months of the year i think we're actually going to see sales come off ever so slightly because of seasonality. also super storm sandy and the fiscal cliff. i think this recovery is here to stay. it's just going to blossom. >> what about hostess who received final approval for bankruptcy plans? the company says more than 100 companies are interested in buying their famous brands there. what's the latest? >> the latest bankruptcy judge on thursday has allowed hostess to liquidate. so what they're going to be doing is shutting about 18,000 jobs over the coming year. and they're getting their assets ready for sale. so they've got about 110 suitors, the company is saying, and they're looking to sell these assets for as much as $1 billion. so what that means is twinkies might be off the shelves for i'm not sure how long. for awhile. but not necessarily forever. >> what about the court approving nearly $2 million in
executive bonuses? we were talking about a company that's liquidating. so is that typical? >> that is somewhat typical. and to look at this a bankruptcy judge also approved up to about $1.8 million in bonuses for 19 executives in the company. that's not including the ceo. this is somewhat typical. that money will only be paid out if certain goals are met in the liquidation process. this is as incendiary as this may sound initially, it's actually kind of good news. the faster that liquidation process happens, the sooner creditors are paid including the union's pension fund. >> morgan brennan, thanks for putting it in perspective for us. it is a christmas wish for most u.s. workers. 73% said they'd like a cash bonus instead of a gift or party. the next most popular wish a raise. it happens to be the best on the job new year's resolution. for fast, long lasting relief, use doctor recommended gaviscon®.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." it is half past the hour right now. let's go to this hour's fast five headlines. the state department is now condemning north korea's plan to fire a long-range test rocket and says it would be a highly provocative act. north korea today said it will fire the rocket between december 10th and 22nd. in southern new jersey more than 100 people evacuated from their homes after a train derailment leaking poisonous fumes. law enforcement sourcegisl s . a third day of testimony is under way for the pretrial hearing for brian manning. people flocking once again to mccaddenville, north
carolina. called christmas town usa. holiday lights went on last night. right now the west coast is preparing for a third storm. and that's in just this week alone. the most intense rainfall expected tonight. certain to fall into already swollen rivers and dump more than a foot of snow in the mountain areas. right now flights at the san francisco airport are delayed about an hour and a half or so. and nbc meteorologist dial dylan dryer is here with more. >> alex, we already have about 8 to 10 inches of rain that has already fallen. now we're going to add another 6 to 10 inches of rain on top of that. that's why conditions are going to get so much worse. we are going to see that heavier rain start to move back in tomorrow morning. there is still moderate rain across northern california. it's lightening up a little bit back through oregon. but western washington state also seeing some moderate rainfall at this time. we have the stuck area of low pressure. all the storms are being steered
right into northern california. so tomorrow morning expect a second round of heavy rain. we are looking for torrential downpowe downpours. low-lying areas in many rivers across northern california will have to be mindful flooding is likely in those areas surrounding some of the rivers. we will see another round of heavy rain move on shore tomorrow morning. we have another round moving in on tuesday. in the next 48 hours we'll most likely pick up another 6 or more inches of rainfall but it's not just the rain. it's the wind on top of it. we've had reports of wind gusts up to 60 to almost 90 miles per hour. and we are going to see winds be just as strong as we go into tomorrow morning. so flight delays and power outages all a big concern. the rest of the country actually looks okay. we're talking about record-breaking heat down into texas with temperatures today topping out in the lower 80s for this first day of december. hard to believe alex. >> dylan, thank you so much.
moral h tens of thousands o supporters of president morsi took to the streets rallying support for their leader and the new constitution. opponents are in tahrir square. jim with a good evening your time have there been any clashes between the two sides today? >> reporter: very few. there were some clashes in alexandria between pro and anti--morsi groups. because the security forces anticipated that because there were a lot of clashes yesterday up in the north there. it was pretty minimal. this was a day, a crucial day as you know for president morsi and his muslim brotherhood supporters. they needed a big turnout, a huge crowd at that rally to kind of stem the momentum of the opposition which we've seen now draw hundreds of thousands of secular, moderate, leftist, liberal egyptians filling that tahrir square on a couple of occasions this past week.
but today belonged to morsi supporters, really. that show of support was big. at least the tens of thousands if not 100,000 outside cairo university. it had more of a feel of a political rally with people waving flags, carrying banners, chanting slogans. again there were some slashes but it was overall a peaceful day. the muslim brotherhood is must more focused on politics than on protests. it wants to ratify that new draft constitution as quickly as possible. of course the opposition says it's invalid because it was rushed through a committee. it's biassed says the opposition towards islamists. morsi receives a draft or just received a draft in fact minutes ago of the constitution in a ceremony this evening and in the days ahead he's likely to announce a nation-wide referendum as early as mid december. alex? >> so with all of this seemingly
an fait accompli what does the opposition do now, jim? >> >> reporter: the opposition which has never been a united force, it's now kind of created a format, a group called the national salvation front. they say they plan more massive protests, a general strike next week. even some are talking about a march on the presidential palace. and some protesters tell us they will topple morsi. if they do that, that's very unlikely. the opposition leader, like nobel peace prize laureate mohammad al beredi said they want strictly peaceful civil disobedience. but it's stuck between a rock and a hard place. if opposition comes out and boycotts the referendum it risks being left out. if it organizes a no vote and loses it will be severely weakened.
even if the opposition wins and egyptians reject this draft constitution, morsi can start the process all over again and stay in power another five or six months. the bottom line is that morsi and the muslim brotherhood are holding most of the cards here. >> thank you very much from cairo. a potential big fight for the department of defense as it is being sued by members of the armed oses. four female soldiers who served tours in iraq or afghanistan have filed a federal lawsuit on tuesday trying to force the pentagon to end a ban on women serving in combat jobs. joining me is major mary jennings hagar,a pilot with the california air national guard one of the women in this lawsuit. m.j., welcome. glad to have you here. >> thank you so much, alex. thanks for having mere. >> i'm glad you're here. why do you want the combat ban for women lifted? >> well, really all we're talking about is lifting the policy. the combat exclusion policy does not reflect the reality of what's going on today. the combat exclusion policy does
not keep women out of combat. that's a common misconception. women are in combat every day serving valiantly side by side with their brothers in arms. and the combat exclusion policy only accomplishes to tie the hands of the commanders in the field trying to make the decisions of whom to send on what missions. it increases discrimination and sews the seeds of doubt in the minds and women on the battle field on their abilities. it also hampers promotion and doesn't accomplish what you'd think is its primary goal of keeping women out of combat. >> i was reading your background. i found you had served in combat. your experience in afghanistan, what was that like? what did you do? >> exactly. and my story is not exceptional by any means. there's thousands of women syringe in combat every day. i am a combat search and rescue helicopter pilot. i was serving on a medevac mission on my third tour in afghanistan. and i had seen a lot of combat from the air at that point. when my aircraft was shot down,
i became a ground combat troop all of a sudden, engaged in ground combat with the enemy. was able to operate exactly side by side, shoulder to shoulder literally with the special forces guys. i was wound and and i continued to fight. kept my calm under pressure. didn't act any differently than the men that i was in combat with. in my situation i was able to train alongside the men. they had no question about my abilities. never treated me like a female. none of them were overly chivalrous or protective. >> so is this more about advancement in your ability? because doesn't advancement sometimes get based on the shoulders of having done combat duty? isn't that a more direct way for advancement? >> exactly. a lot of the women serving today
are serving in combat positions. they're attached instead of assigned to ground combat rules. they're liaisons. legal loopholes to get women into combat. the reality is we need women in combat. certain roles only women can do. the sensitivities of speaking to female civilians. a lot of factors that come into the fact that we need women in combat, not to mention they're skilled and capable. and those women when their packages come up against their male counterparts for promotion, in some instances the people who review their packages don't understand they actually were serving in combat. because their duty titles say things like civil affairs or liaison type of thing. it's really just an injustice to them. >> any official response? any word from the pentagon on all this yet? >> the only things that i've heard as far as responses that have been quoted to me by other reporters that i've been able to read are things like well we're trying. we've opened a few jobs.
we're getting there. and honestly we've waited long enough. it's 2012. the antiquated policy needs to be lifted. we need to send a message to the world and to our men and women who are serving in combat that we respect you, we understand what you're doing, we appreciate your sacrifice. keep up the good work. >> you keep up the good work, mj. here you say you're nothing special. but you're a woman who was shot down, injured and served alongside special forces on the ground. i'm impressed. major mary jennings hagar, thanks for your time. good luck with the suit. let's check in with craig melvin to see what he's got up his sleeve here coming up in the next hour. >> the fiscal cliff of course. we are going to break it down issue by issue, sticking point by sticking point. and do republicans have a woman problem? we are going to talk to a republican congresswoman. her name is marcia blackburn. she called out her own party on their leadership picks this week. apparently not many of their committee chairmen are women. in fact only one is. and we will take you live to
egypt, tel aviv and mexico for a jam-packed worldwide show, alex witt. >> looks like we have to buckle up. thank you very much, craig melvin. straight ahead the big three on the fiscal cliff stalemate. who's going to blink first? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." many of my patients clean their dentures with toothpaste. i tell them dentures are very different to real teeth. they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can grow and multiply. polident is specifically designed to clean dentures daily. its unique micro-clean formula kills 99.9% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains, cleaning in a better way than brushing with toothpaste. that's why i recommend using polident. [ male announcer ] polident. cleaner, fresher, brighter every day.
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1.8 million people every year until it is eradicated. time for the big three now in today's topics. who will blink, boys club and best week worth week. reporter from real clear politics, democratic strategist and republican strategist. hello, guys. good to have you all here. >> thank you. >> susan, i'd like you to take a listen to president obama in pennsylvania friday talking about taxes going up for everyone if congress doesn't act. >> i'm assuming that doesn't sound too good to you. that's sort of like the lump of coal you get for christmas. that's a scrooge christmas. >> susan, the president suggesting republicans are planning on giving the american public a lump of coal. what is your take on that? >> i think the president still has his campaign bus rolling around the country is what i think. he's going out there in a very aggressive style, and he's trying to like you said at the entrance who blinks first.
right now his strategy is working. as we get closer and the markets start reacting he's going to have to come to the table with some serious offers, not this nonsense he brought earlier this week with double the amount of revenue he thought last time. he's got to roll up his sleeves and get to work with republicans. that's what the american people really want. they want to see both sides working together. >> but he is the president. he is taking advantage of the bully pulpit. don't you think people are appreciating he's getting out there and trying to explain his point of view? >> absolutely. and he's doing it very well right now. you just don't get to ride it to the end of the cliff. at some point he's going to have to get off that ramp and see and negotiate with the republicans. >> so morris, is this too provocative of a proposal? couldn't he have given at least a little bit even in the first proposal? could he have overplayed his hand here? or is there no way he can overplay his hand given that he handily won the election? >> i think he wanted to see if there was any wiggle room where the republicans are going to start and push and pull.
i think this is the first offer. there's many miles to go. the team is meeting around the clock. i think something will get done. i think he was testing the waters to see how flexible republicans will be. >> erin, any conventional wisdom on who might blink first? >> the stalemate is public. behind closed doors i do think there is some movement. i've spoken to a number of republicans on capitol hill this week who say at the end of the day yes, they probably will have to give in on rates to some degree for the top earners. so i think we'll see in the next few days the republicans do something to counter offer. it may not be a full proposal like the white house has put forward. but we'll see something from them saying we want cuts that look like this. >> can i ask all three of you how long you think we're going to be here talking about this? does this go to december 31st? erin, you first. >> i think it will go until about christmas. i mean the day before or the day before that. but i do think they want to be done by the holiday. >> morris? >> i think the president will get it done by christmas.
>> susan? >> i was thinking about the 22nd or the 23rd. >> i'm just going to put my hands together here hoping. anyway let's move onto our next topic which is boys club. take a listen to newt gingrich on "jay leno" this week. >> here are the gop committee chairs. show that picture. everyone is a middle-aged white guy, okay? is there a diversity problem in the republican party? >> the fact is that picture is by definition not helpful. i think we were so wrong this year as a party that we really need to fundamentally rethink what we're doing. not just have the newest glib answer for the same guys who were wrong but actually stop and look at what happened and look at what went wrong and look at what we didn't understand about how america is evolving and changing. >> susan, how embarrassing is this on a scale of like 1 to 10 for the republicans? you look at that picture and go yikes! >> 182. it is very embarrassing. and what's happened is the republicans not only do they not even see it as an optics
problem, which at the very least you would think politically they would do that. but what's worse is that this is actually the way things stand. and if they are looking to welcome people into the party, they have to show that they are more diverse, plain and simple. otherwise you look at that list and it doesn't say hey, women, hi other people come join us in our party. it doesn't look like a welcome sign to me. >> how big of awake-up call was the election for the gop with women and minority voters? >> well, this is something that we've been talking about in the past several elections as far as women are minority voters are concerned. so, the republican party knows that it has a problem and i'm sure we'll see in the next year or so that the republican party goes through a number of efforts to try and correct the problem. but it's something that has been brewing for a long time. >> but you know what is so interesting, they knew they had this problem duribefore the election, during the election and they make these appointments after the election. you know. i guess that's more to susan. >> it is a little mind boggling. again, i don't know what they're
looking to achieve by putting this out there if they really want to get more women and minorities into the party. again, at the very least, politically, they should have been concerned about the optics of it. >> look, i know you're a democrat, but play devil's advocate for me and walk across the aisle for a minute. what do republicans need to do to appeal more to women and minorities. >> first of all, it is not as bad as people make it to be. this is a post-environment so people are sort of piling on, i think, that these guys can make some headway. they have to really have messages that work. as i said before, you look at, if you look at hispanics and african-americans, typically these guys are much more friendly. so, if they start to really talk to them in tone and not just in words, but in action and deeds, folks want to be successful. republican party has stood for that for a long time. it's sort of they lost their way. what they have do, also, alex, is live in reality. this is not one thing they
understand. the way they're handling the fiscal cliff and appointing the chairman. live in the reality. you don't have to change overnight, but you have to do things that sort of move the ball down the road and african-americans who want to be in a republican party, but the republican party has to meet them at least halfway. >> morris, i think you touch on something really important. it's not just the message and not just what you say to them, your actions do matter and it needs to be more inclusive and they need to bring them in to be part of the process. >> all right, the big threeidarithreeidary dares to choose the best and worst of the week. continuously releases calcium plus d with efficient absorption in one daily dose. citracal slow release.
republicans on the hill whereas john kerry the senator from massachusetts had a very good week and it looks like republicans would confirm him for just about anything that the president wanted to appoint him to. >> morris, your picks. >> we'll let him appoint him to secretary of defense. my worst week is benjamin netanyahu. this guy has a real problem on his hand. you know, the u.n. situation, west bank expansion, picking the wrong guy for president. netanyahu, you've got a problem and you have to figure it out quickly. the best week for me is what i'm calling obama 2.0. the president is out there and this is new obama and gauge taking his message to the american people and strong leadership and expect more of this, more of an activist president in the next four years. >> okay. susan, how about yours? >> i think ambassador susan rice had a horrible week. not only, it started out with the best intentions going up to meet with these senators, but especially after a meeting with senator collins from maine, it just really went downhill from
there and now it seems like the obama administration can sail through senator kerry, so, it looks like she's going to be left on the sidelines. as far as the best week, it's those republicans who want to govern and that they're not going to sign the special interest tax pledge from grover norquist. so, i give them a lot of mrauz f for doing the right thing. >> thank you for joining me, as always. i appreciate that. that is a wrap of this "weekend with alex witt." up next my friend craig melamvi. i'm alex witt, have yourselves a great day. nk you need to go to a department store counter to treat your toughest skin concerns? join the counter revolution and switch to olay pro-x to see results in 28 days. anti-aging results so you look up to 12 years younger. reduce the look of pores and fight red acne for clearer skin get cleansing results as effective as a $200 system
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